Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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In recent years, high-profile Silicon Valley firms have engineered billion-dollar IPOs through developing online and app-based platforms that connect service providers and sellers with customers and process their payments (the “online platform economy”). Today, millions of Americans earn income using platforms developed by Uber, Etsy, and Airbnb; and research has identified the limitations of existing federal tax rules to facilitate tax compliance of these workers and considered the consequences of their failure to pay self-employment taxes. However, questions remain as to the changing demographics and motivations of online platform economy workers and their retirement income security. Titled, Shoring Up Shortfalls: Women, Retirement and the Growing Gig Economy, we propose to identify and analyze: (i) the existing demographic data on this workforce; (ii) their economic motivations and retirement income needs; and (iii) the federal tax, retirement policy, and financial literacy proposals that would enable the gig economy workforce to support itself in retirement.


Women, gig work, gig workers, gig economy, GigSupp, financial literacy, retirement

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The research described herein received funding from the TIAA Institute and Wharton School’s Pension Research Council/Boettner Center.

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The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent official views of the TIAA Institute, the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2021 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 09 March 2021